12/06/2007, 00.00
SRI LANKA

Archbishop of Colombo: with the coming of Advent we prepare for the beginning of a new life

In his message to the diocese, Archbishop Gomis frowned upon the situation in the country, which has plummeted “back in time”: war, social disparity, and human rights violations are only a few of the daily crimes. But with the birth of Jesus, “hope smiles upon us”: prayer and penance are necessary in order to change our hearts.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – “The time has come to begin new life!” This was the opening statement by the Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo to the priests, religious and lay people in his long Advent letter. The message was clear: let the birth of Jesus be an opportunity for a renewed commitment to “put an end to the crimes of our society: the first being war”.
 
The Bishop urged the community, first of all, to not close its eyes on the reality of the country: there is a rise in “kidnappings, killings, human rights violations, abortions, diseases, the division between rich and poor, while the conflict in the north compromises each economic development”. Then he invited the leaders of the country to “unite the people”, and to assume the responsibility of re-marginalising the “profound ethnic and religious differences that divide the people” in Sri Lanka. Contributing to this division, according to the Archbishop, are some politicians and media who are only interested in their own personal gain. “Even though with nearly sixty years of Independence we have been going backwards and many of our countrymen have lost hope of a future in Sri Lanka”. He added, “I believe there is still hope for us if there is a change of heart”.
 
Archbishop Gomis invited the Catholic community, “even though only a minority”, to commence a “new life”, by becoming beacons of light to the rest of the country. The Archbishop recommended the parishes “dedicate Advent to promoting community prayer, especially for peace. Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament exposed and Benediction should take an important place in these devotions.” Prayer should be accompanied by penance, by “acts of virtue towards the “needy” and by “sacrifice.”
 
 
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